The Knicks entered this matchup at home with the Charlotte Hornets with a chance to get over .500 for the first time all season, and they didn’t disappoint. With a 103.7 Defensive Rating before this afternoon’s contest, the Knicks had the second-best defensive rating in the NBA, and that trend continued in their dominant win over the Charlotte Hornets.
It was another efficient scoring attack for New York, who are slowly finding their groove despite a league-worst 52% True Shooting Percentage, as they were able to utilize their improving perimeter offense to shoot 15-36 (41.7%) from three and quell any Hornet scoring runs. Five different players on the team scored double-digit points, and the Knicks handled business at home with their third-straight win in this three-game homestand.
The Knicks are Finally Clicking on All Cylinders
The Knicks got things started in the first quarter by outscoring Charolette 32-25, led by Jalen Brunson’s 13 points in the first quarter. Brunson, who had gotten off to a poor start on the season, gave the Knicks his usual efficient night, scoring 20 points on 7-12 shooting (58.3%) while making two of his four attempts from beyond the arc and four makes from the charity stripe in four attempts. Brunson entered tonight’s game with a mere 51.8% TS% but is shooting 46.6% from the field and 43.4% from beyond the arc in his last four games.
If the Knicks can continue to get these types of performances from the 27-year-old star point guard, they’ll have no problem getting points on the board, especially with the emergence of RJ Barrett. Following a 2022-2023 season where he struggled from beyond the arc, Barrett’s three-point shot has looked incredible, giving the Knicks four makes from beyond the arc in six attempts, and he had his fifth game scoring at least 20 points in the contest.
Barrett is closing in on a three-point percentage of 50%, as he’s flashed incredible scoring capabilities at all three phases of the game, with a prominent interior presence, strong free throw shooting, and great spacing. I was highly critical of RJ Barrett’s role in the offense, adamant that his style of play didn’t mesh well with Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson, but he hasn’t just proven me wrong; he’s been one of the best players in all of basketball.
With a 60.8% TS% entering the contest and a +3.7 Box Plus-Minus, he’s been one of the most impactful players in the NBA, and he’s done so while nursing a knee injury that sidelined him for two games. Barrett’s performances immediately raise the ceiling of this Knicks team, but another big contributing factor to their improved play as of late has been Julius Randle. He dropped his third-consecutive 20-point game, shooting 50% from the field and generating three steals, five rebounds, and five assists as well.
Immanuel Quickley has also blossomed into his six-man role, giving the Knicks 17 points on just nine shots, draining four of his six attempts. The 24-year-old guard is quietly off to a hot start, scoring 15.1 points per game on a 58.9% TS%, and he’s looking like a player New York would love to extend. Mitchell Robinson had 10 points on seven shots, getting nine boards and committing just two fouls on the night, and while Isiah Hartenstein fouled out, it wasn’t before collecting six boards and six points on the day.
Donte DiVincenzo, Quentin Grimes, and Josh Hart all contributed notable baskets in the game, and the Knicks routed the Hornets 129-107 in a highly impressive win. The Knicks will depart for Boston in a Monday night showdown on the road, kicking off a five-game road trip.